Author Archive for Cory Miller

Bros, It’s Time To Hang Out More Regularly

Last weekend, I went on a quick but epic roadtrip with my youngest brother, Matt. On short notice I needed (and let’s be honest, wanted) someone to go with me to our New Mexico cabin (about a 9-hour drive each way) starting on Friday night and getting back on Sunday night.

Matt and I are seven years apart in age. He’s a police officer and I type for a living. We didn’t grow up in the same home, but we’ve always had a brother bond that even if we didn’t see each other for months, we would start where we left off.

So for 18+ hours on the road and all the in-between time when we weren’t sleeping (barely), there wasn’t 5 minutes of quiet between us. We talked about everything from children, marriage to politics and career … and of course our hopes and dreams and thoughts about the future. We toasted and drank some excellent Balvenie. We grilled veggies and steaks. And yes, there were plenty of pranks, shenanigans and laughs.

After the trip, although we were both exhausted I could not wipe the grin from my face if I wanted to.

And then after the trip, I read this article titled “The biggest threat facing middle-age men isn’t smoking or obesity. It’s loneliness.” And it got me thinking …

It’s true. At least in my life.

Yes, I have an incredible, supportive wife who is my best friend and amazing children that give me so much meaning and purpose and joy and love. Yes, I have a lot of close friends. But because of the busyness of life — career (running a business) and family (chasing two kiddos around and prioritizing my marriage), I see it’s truth.

In fact, I think you can walk the halls of many nursing homes and see this truth:

Loneliness kills.

Here’s a couple of quotes that stuck out to me from the article:

“Loneliness has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke and the progression of Alzheimer’s.”

“In 2015, a huge study out of Brigham Young University, using data from 3.5 million people collected over 35 years, found that those who fall into the categories of loneliness, isolation, or even simply living on their own see their risk of premature death rise 26 to 32 percent.”

As I read further in the article, I saw more truths:

Men need an activity together to make and keep a bond.”

“That’s why Schwartz and others say the best way for men to forge and maintain friendships is through built-in regularity — something that is always on the schedule.”

The key takeaway from the article hit home with me: We, men, need a regularly scheduled activity, especially in mid-life. 

So it got me thinking about how I’ve tried to find that male bonding time …. and here are my thoughts.

My Goals for Guy Time

Just replacing on the activities with other friends, here are the most valuable values I have for those relationships that maximize those times:

  • Go deeper — the older I get the less I care about small talk. I want to get to the deeper issues of life. My best friendships are the ones where we skip the surface and talk about the iceberg of life — both the struggles and successes.
  • Be more open — my most valued friendships are the ones where I don’t have to wear a mask or a costume. I’m just me, being me. And vice versa. This is all about trust and respect. And no judgment. We all have skeletons in the closet. The most incredible experiences I’ve had is two humans being human together. Recognizing we all have emotions and feelings, hopes and dreams, whether they seem trivial to us or not. I’ve found I’m my worst critic and whenever I’ve been more human and open, I get open and human back.
  • Make lifetime memories — have fun and enjoy each other’s company. The best times are when we’re doing something fun, whether it’s white water rafting in Idaho (or New Mexico) or simply enjoying a drink while telling stories that become our legends. Life is so much about the moments you share.

Some Ways I’ve Found That Bonding

Here are a couple of ways I’ve found that CONSISTENT and ongoing time with my dude friends:

  • Monthly Mastermind Meeting — although it’s not a mastermind (and we have females in the group), for the last 5+ years, I’ve been meeting with a group of 8-9 Oklahoma City entrepreneurs (via Entrepreneurs Organization) every month for three hours. They’ve been my lifeline of sanity as well as success. It’s been so incredibly impactful on my success and sanity that I’ve also started another forum group in the past, and am in the process of seeding another one this year. I’ve found nothing like it in the world. Like-minded people, in similar stages of life, with the same values and goals, setting aside a block of time each month to work on our icebergs and share our lives with each other. The other one I’ve been a part of like this is one with five other WordPress peeps, but is mainly focused on work/career accountability.
  • Once a Year Retreat — Our Entrepreneurs Organization Forum group also does a retreat once a year for 3-4 days, typically in the summer around June. We’ve done some fun stuff together like fly fishing in Montana to flying jets in Vegas, but it’s always the times around the campfire that mean the most to me. I also look at PressNomics and CaboPress (conferences I try not to miss) as times for bonding with my business friendships. I shouldn’t even label them as ‘business,’ they are friends I’ve made through business.
  • Team Sports — I just recently returned to indoor volleyball, a sport I’ve loved since college, after the urging and push from my wife. In the past, Lindsey and I have also played softball and relished those new friendships and times. Although the team was co-ed, I enjoyed the camaraderie and bonding and looking to playing volleyball again in the summer season.

Filling in the Gaps with One-Off, Somewhat Random Opportunities

  • Roadtrips — my brother Matt and I are already planning our next roadtrip over the weekend. Watch out Moab, we’re coming for you in Jeeps! In August, we’ll be joining our dad and other brother and friends to go hunting in New Mexico. (I don’t hunt or like to hunt, but I won’t miss another trip with these awesome men.)
  • Lema/Miller Slumber Parties — my buddy Chris flew to Dallas to hangout with me for a couple of days and because we’re kids like this, we said it was our Slumber Party. We talked until way too early in the morning and had to force ourselves to go to sleep as it was so much fun. Slumber Party Party Deux is in a couple of weeks. I know, we’re geeks, but proud of it!
  • WordCamps — the Hallway Track is my favorite, especially at WordCamp US. It’s hard to get 5 feet before you’re talking and catching up with some awesome WordPress community friends. Some of my favorite memories are hanging out (and getting lost on subways) with guys like Michael Torbert way back at WordCamp Boston, or sharing one-on-one time with guys like Karim Marucchi over a good meal.
  • Portugal Pals — one way my COO and buddy Matt Danner and I stay close and in sync is through regular trips together. There’s something about flights and hotel rooms without much distractions that are always a blast. We just returned from a once-in-a-lifetime, epic trip to Portugal. #pals
  • Dad Dates — my buddy Jesse and I have children the same age AND gender. He graciously went with me to see the latest Star Wars movie recently. I also had dinner and got to see the OKC Thunder play (courtside, holy cow!) recently with my buddy Jeff. It’s awesome when you are in parallel life stages, and going through similar things.
  • Coffees and Lunches — I enjoy catching up with my buddies and making new ones (like I did recently when John reached out to me as he was traveling to OKC for a wedding).
  • Traveling — on our personal trips, Lindsey and I have a motto and mission: Make friends everywhere. And we have. I love making new friendships with those in new cultures and around the globe. It’s entirely changed the way I do traveling now. My goal isn’t just to see new places, but to meet new people. It’s so mind expanding and special. Our friend Marco and his family, on Father’s Day, took us on a full-day tour of Lisbon, Portugal. So much fun memories — made even more special when his mother gave us tiles that goes on her house (a very cool Portuguese tradition).
  • Partner Pals — some of my best memories of my business partners, Scott and Jay, have been on our trips, whether it was to visit the campus of Google and Yahoo or the White House. I want for more trips with these awesome men and role models.
  • Skype, Slack, iMessage chats, Facebook — it’s never a substitute for face to face, or elbow to elbow bonding times. But the article says men aren’t great at talking on the phone (I hate it) yet throughout the year my buddies and I seem to stay in touch via these text chats. My friend Jason is great at keeping up like this.
  • Reunions — after 20 years of not going to my high school reunion, I went a couple years ago and thoroughly enjoyed catching up with old friendships, although I have not kept in touch beyond liking their posts on Facebook.

Ideas for More Consistent Hang Out Times:

  • Once a Month In-Person Coffee or Breaking Bread — like every third Wednesday. It’s way easier for me to do lunches or daytime meetings than nighttimes with kids.
  • Once-a-Quarter Weekend Trips — very short roadtrips that get us away from the distractions of life with a focused activity — like watching a football game, or
  • Once-a-Year Retreats — as I mentioned I already do this with my Forum group … but another in a year would be super nice, like 2-3 days away.
  • Movie Night — whenever a new movie comes out, we go see it on Thursday night — if we can stay up that late!

Additional Thoughts and Caveats:

  • Spousal/significant other support is essential — My wife is my top relationship priority. Without the support of my wife, I wouldn’t do the things I already do, but thankfully she sees the value for my life, health and happiness, and I do for her retreats as well. We try to do regular checkins to communicate and see how we’re doing, one of the many reasons I’ve tried to winnow my business travel down drastically this year.
  • Too much time away — I realize with all these ideas, at some point, you can spend WAY too much time away from your family, which ain’t good. It’s all about time budgeting and again talking it through with your spouse and family. It’s interesting to note that Lindsey and I try to do these kinds of spousal retreats and getaways as often as possible. She comes first, always and forever.
  • Getting overscheduled — I try to have as few regularly scheduled meetings in my professional life as I can (let alone personal), and if I were to add too many things above, I’d get way too booked up, which would mean less time for family and family travel.
  • Prioritizing relationships — I realize there’s a limit to how many close relationships one person can build. Proximity is often the prioritizing factor just because it’s easier. Lema talks about how he approaches that here.
  • Gal Pals are just as awesome — over the years I’ve had so many special relationships with some awesome, wickedly smart, incredibly supportive ladies. I’ve found just as much joy with my gal pals and don’t want to leave them out in any way. In fact, looking over my Instagram feed for pics showed me how much time I have spent with these awesome awesome women.

OK, what are your ideas?

 

Need Quality WordPress Hosting? Check Out Liquid Web

The First-Things-First Disclosures: I fully believe in everything I’m saying here, or else I wouldn’t share it. My company, iThemes, is a partner of theirs (through our iThemes Sync Pro product). My wife, Lindsey Miller, is Liquid Web’s new partner manager, and I’m very good friends with Chris Lema, VP of Product, and A.J. Morris, Product Manager. Also, there is an affiliate link here. 

Simply put: The state of WordPress hosting mostly sucks. Since 2008, when I started iThemes, WordPress hosting has gotten worse and worse, and only recently have I seen many of the companies I once recommended start to get better.

If you’re looking for quality WordPress hosting … meaning you care about your site, and use it to build your business or organization … I believe Liquid Web has one of the most compelling offers around for a number of reasons … here are mine:

  • They’ve defined what hosting support should be — They don’t just offer 24/7/365 support … if you need help and ping their 800-number or live chat, you’ll actually be talking with someone who knows what they are doing, and aren’t trying to sell you something. The last time I check, 200 of their 250+ support team are Red Hat-certified. So Heroic Support isn’t just a tagline, it’s core to who they are. As I walked through one of their offices in Lansing, Michigan last year, you could just see and feel the commitment to a client-first, support-first culture. It’s part of their identity. I think few can actually claim they do “managed” support like Liquid Web can. Their NPS score, which puts them in a VERY rare category is a result I think of their focus on customer support.
  • They own their hardware — This is significant and rare and means they can control the whole environment as they aren’t relying on someone else. I’ve seen it (well, through a window!). If they have an issue, they go fix it … themselves.
  • A WordPress hosting platform that’s only getting better and faster — led by my friend Chris Lema, their WordPress hosting platform is killing it every week with new features that benefit you and your site. So whatever you buy now will only get better.
  • iThemes Sync Pro comes with it — We’ve partnered with Liquid Web to offer every WordPress hosting customer of theirs our awesome site management tools.
  • Just plain ole good people — Beyond my wife, Chris, A.J. and others, I’ve also met most of their Executive Team, in fact, some of them have been in our home in Oklahoma City.
  • Don’t just take my word for it — You should also read what Shawn Hesketh of WP101 and WordPress developer and Lynda.com instructor Carrie Dills have said about Liquid Web’s offering. (They give much more compelling technical reasons that I didn’t share here!) See also: SEO Bootcamp’s Giveaway, Kim’s review, Tara’s review, and Joe’s review too.  And I’m confident you’ll see more and more people recommending Liquid Web soon.

Go Check out Liquid Web’s Managed WordPress Hosting here. 

The Women Who Have Made a Difference In My Life

In honor of International Women’s Day, I reflected on all the women who have made an impact and difference in my life and wanted to share and thank them here.

They’ve served as role models in unique ways, and loved and supported me throughout my life and at different points.

Mostly in chronological order … here goes:

  • Charleen Green — my mother. A single mom who raised two boys, while getting her college education. She inspired me in so many ways to become the man I am today. I’m so grateful to have had the most amazing mother ever. Hope I make her proud!
  • Betty Chaney — my maternal grandmother. Her elegance, her intellect inspired me. When I’d stay the night at her house, we’d have breakfast together and she would engage me on topics I didn’t feel worthy of discussing with her. Those conversations pushed me to think bigger and better. (I wish you were still with us to see your kindred spirit, red-headed great granddaughter!)
  • Dorothy Miller — my paternal grandmother. Her quiet love and commitment of our family, without any judgment, is why I’m so loyal to the people I love. She was from New Hampshire and I loved her accent too. She raised four children while her husband was on the first U.S. Navy nuclear submarine, The Nautilus.
  • Summer Mills — my cousin who is like my sister. Wherever I go, I always know we have a brother-sister connection. We’ve been through tough times and always had each other’s back, no matter what. Her sense of humor is incredible. Even though I am the butt of her jokes, I know it’s always in love with a tinge of truth. She’s also an incredible mother. And one of my best friends.
  • Kathy Porter — my aunt. My second mother. She loved me like a son. Fierce defender, but always encouraging and loving and there for me. And makes the best cookies ever.
  • Sandra Miller — my aunt. She was 16 when I was born and I was her first “baby.” She’s called me Cor-oreo ever since I can remember. She’s always been the warmest supporter and hugger in my life. And has showed up at every time I needed her most. She’s the premiere example of a caregiver. I try to love like her.
  • Diane Worsham — my aunt. From her example I got a profound competitive spirit and also insane family loyalty and commitment. And she was there for me in one of the toughest times in my life. Right there. Ready to protect me.
  • Charity Flowers — my sweet friend who nominated me for Student Council which was the start of a whole lot of leadership opportunities and eventually a full ride scholarship to the University of Central Oklahoma.
  • Sue Daugherty — my high school counselor who encouraged a rather insecure kid with silly ideas and urged me to run for Student Council President and helped me start our high school’s first newspaper. Incredible cheerleader who believed in the next generation.
  • Jasmine Long — my high school BFF and sidekick. She supported and believed in me even when I didn’t. We shared lots of laughs and tears together through the years. One of the most amazing friends.
  • Delaine Perkins — my boss at my college internship. She balanced family and work and inspired me to be a true professional. The greatest lesson she taught me was to always take the initiative. She was a fantastic writer and editor, and she’d never accept my second best. She also took a chance on a punk college kid and I’m forever grateful.
  • Farzie Razak — my editor at our college newspaper. She showed me how to be a real journalist in so many ways. And was a dear friend to me.
  • Louanna Miller and Shonda Miller — my sister-in-laws but more like just sisters. Both ran into my life while others ran out. Uniquely strong amazing women. They’ve loved my brothers and nieces and nephew (and the rest of us) while maintaining a keen sense for who they are and what they offer the world. Special special women to me who add their flair and spunk and smarts and beauty to all they touch.
  • Lisa Sabin-Wilson — my dear dear friend who I met through holding her gum at WordCamp Chicago and eventually helped me accomplish a lifelong dream of being an actual book author, when she asked me (maybe told me) to co-auothor WordPress All-in-One for Dummies with her. There are countless other ways she’s inspired me, encouraged me and just been there for me.
  • Rebecca Gill — my dear friend who has supported me and collaborated and partnered with me, and never kept score. She’s always about my win, as I am hers. A true giver, an encourager but straight and honest talker and a doer.
  • Kristen Wright — my teammate at iThemes and so often my right hand dude. Fiercely loving, committed, loyal, hard working and supremely talented. She makes my life awesome by the work she does and her presence in my life. I’ve seen her blossom and bloom in the past 5+ years and I’m honored to be her friend. But perhaps most importantly of all, she’s been an example of openness vulnerability, writing her memoirs, and helping me to do the same.
  • Patti Ream — our incredible office manager at iThemes. She gave me perhaps the best gift ever by sharing her “56 lessons in 56 years” letter to me. I’ve found myself reading it over and over to savor and unearth all the wisdom in it for living an incredible life like she has. She inspires me most by her consistent positive and delightful attitude. She makes everyone smile around her. She’s a light we’re all drawn to. Such an incredible example for me, especially when I’ve felt down or out about something or myself, I’m always reminded of Patti’s living, walking example.
  • Pam Owens — the best mother-in-law a guy could ever have. She’s adopted me as her own, embraced me (when I don’t wear orange) and been there for me and us. The best part is we’re friends (and now teammates on our volleyball league). How often does that happen?! That you can be pals with your mother-in-law and go on fabulous trips together like to Portugal and have a blast?! Additionally I’ve gotten to see another side and perspective of being a woman in today’s world.
  • Mary Owens — my adopted Grandma aka Mo. One of the strongest yet most loving people (not just women) I know. She knows who she is and doesn’t apologize for it either. Again, she’s loved me as her own and never thought or treated me as anything different. Her relationship with Papa Doc is one of the most endearing examples of love and life I’ve ever seen. A true, equals in all things, partnership.
  • Amber England — my dear childhood friend, once coworker and just amazing human being. She cares deeply about people. She’s work fiercely for others’ causes who might never know her name. And she’s someone I lean on for strategy and advice for almost anything I can think of.
  • A couple more I’ve met in the last couple of years — successful entrepreneurs and dear friends Deemah Ramadan and Valerie Riley and now my newest friend Sherry Walling, a Ph.D. psychologist working to help entrepreneurs.

And last but not certainly not least … the two starring women in my life:

  • Lindsey Miller — my beloved partner in everything and my wife and best friend. We met at a tough time in my life and she was there for me every step of the way, sometimes at great sacrifice. Her love has never wavered. She’s shown me who a great woman is, how to love, cherish and respect women like never before, and I deeply respect and admire and love everything about her. Beyond being an incredible mate and mother, we have the most balanced, empathetic and stimulating conversations that challenge me, from parenting to politics. And her confidence and belief in me, props me up, every single damn day.
  • Lillian Miller — my daughter. She’s inspired me to be a much much better man than I am. And the man I want all men compared to in her life. When I look in her beautiful eyes and her mesmerizing smile, I want every single good thing for her in life. I want her to have every right and privilege I have and more. She’s smart, sassy and beautiful, and the clone of my beloved wife. So watch out world. Having a daughter (and a son) is the most incredible gift ever. (Thank you again, Lindsey.)

I’m the man I am today … and a better human being … for all of these women and the countless others who have inspired, taught and encouraged me in their unique way who I haven’t mentioned here.

Happy International Women’s Day to you all.

Need Some Clarity? Schedule a Call With Me

For some time now I’ve gotten regular requests to do phone calls and consulting. I enjoy talking, listening and helping people, particularly entrepreneurs and young people looking for career direction.

Today, I’m taking a step to do that even more, by setting up my expert profile at Clarity.

Sometimes it just helps to get an outside perspective and opinion from someone who’s been there and done it. And I want to help you blow up the roadblocks in the way of your happiness and success, sharing my experiences to help you do just that.

If that’s you … schedule a call with me today and here are three ways I can help you best:

Schedule Your Call Today!

How to Be a Professional:  12 Tips to Thrive at Your First Job

In the past couple years of leading and “managing” people, especially young people right out of college, or those who haven’t had many jobs, I’ve seen a gaping hole in the form of teaching people how to be a professional. (Maybe it’s always been there but either way, it’s there.)

When I think about this topic — helping young people know how to survive and thrive in their first jobs — I think about star college athletes who are drafted into the pros. One day, they wake up and find that their lifelong passion (football, baseball, basketball, whatever) — the thing they’ve always done without much effort and with outstanding success — has now turned into a full-time job tied to all their lifelong hopes and dreams. And often it’s the job of the veterans to teach the rookies how to be a pro.

It’s usually someone’s job to help the “rookies” figure out how to be a “pro.”

So with that … I’ll offer my suggestions for the next generation to succeed in the workplace (and be a little blunt):

1. Be passionate

This means being interested in what you’re doing. Do something you have a great opportunity to LOVE.

If you take a job simply because it’s a crapload of money, I’ll make a bet now you’re going to be miserable in 10 years if you stick with that job. Don’t waste your precious time or talent on a job you hate simply because you want a BMW.

Take a cue from your Baby Boomer parents … happiness isn’t found in material things.

Loathing or hating a job is misery … that’s called prison.

You don’t necessarily have to love what you do … but I think you should at least LIKE IT.

Find a job you can like or enjoy, doing work that challenges you and plays to your strengths.

2. Be eager

I hire for drive and fit over talent. Being eager means you are internally driven to make your organization a success and with it, yourself. You should want the job. You should want to work hard to keep it and be better.

Being eager is typically a result of doing work you enjoy. Looking forward to going to work because you want to use your time and talents to produce something of quality.

3. Be a sponge

Just because you’ve graduated from college doesn’t mean you stop reading for the rest of your life. Be a lifelong learner. After you get over your college “I hate books” hangover, get realistic and realize that the key to growth comes cheaply by reading dead trees.

So if you’re not a reader, become one.

A key core value we hold close at iThemes is Learn, Grow, then Share.

Always be learning. Always be growing. Seek ways to do so. Find mentors at the workplace and ask questions and listen. Buy their lunch, make and bring them their morning coffee.

But by the way, listening is so undervalued. Most people want to talk about what they do best.

Be a sponge for all of it.

4. Get better on our own time and dime

Someone should tell you this and it might as well be me: You haven’t magically “arrived.” You probably won’t ever arrive. Neither will I. At least I hope I don’t or think I ever will. I always want to be improving and honing my craft.

Just because you land some fancy title doesn’t mean you’re set for life or done learning or growing.

Graduation is simply the first step in a journey that’s called your professional career. Now it’s time for you to use that base knowledge and those experiences to build your career.

It means constant improvement. And if you want to make more, do more, then that means you hone your skills on nights and weekends (yes, on your own dime!).

Let me be clear: Getting better at night and weekends is an investment in yourself.

If you learn and grow, when you get another job, you TAKE that with you. It’s yours.

You always want to achieve work-life balance and you need downtime … but consider using a large portion of that time investing in yourself.

Trust me … as a boss, this type of team member rises to the top. They are the clear leaders you take for the future of your organization. At least I do.

5. Everybody starts somewhere

Call this paying your dues or whatever, but yes, everybody starts somewhere and typically that’s at the bottom of the ladder. That might mean taking out the trash, being someone’s assistant, taking direction from someone else, or whatever.

You aren’t above it. And neither am I. Even as the founder of a company, I still do these things.

If you don’t have the humility to accept that, you’re going to struggle for a long time. You might even think it’s not you, but everybody else. 

Realize now that this is the first step to a great adventure. Use this time to figure out what you want to do in your organization and in life. Solidify the place you want to be in and work hard to get there.

6. Be the solution

No one likes a complainer. Be a change agent instead. Be someone who sees a problem and owns the solution.

Initiative is an amazing, standout quality. The majority of people simply point to a problem and see if someone else comes to fix it.

A lone minority see the problem and realize they could fix it themselves and try. To them, go the rewards and recognition.

I want 100 more people like that in my business and in my life.

7. Be flexible

Flexibility and adaptability are assets in your career. Things won’t always go your way or the way you expected them to go. Sometimes you might be asked to work late, or switch roles, or do something your job description didn’t talk about ….

Be willing to adapt and change if needed.

The people who are the most flexible and adaptive, who just want to contribute and provide value, are the ones who rise above.

8. Be helpful

Yes, this means changing the printer cartridge, or taking out the trash. It means answering the phone when someone isn’t close to it.

It means helping someone else with their problem, even if it isn’t yours. 

As a boss, I want a group of individuals who WANT to help each other. Who want to help their teammates take their vacations and will work to fill the gap so they can do so without worry. Or who understand we are all humans being with struggles and challenges and needs … and there to be helpful and generous with our time and energy.

9. Be on time

This should be implied but I’ve realized it’s not. Show up for work on time, every time, and even before time. When you walk in late, it shows a lack of respect for everyone else.

When in doubt, ask what the expected times are. And be early and stay later. It adds up. People see it. It shows commitment.

I did that in every job I had and it paid off richly in terms of my value and reputation. Because I simply showed up.

And by the way, just because other people on your team don’t respect this and are habitually late doesn’t mean you follow the herd.

10. Find out how you fit in, quickly

Like I’ve said before, we hire for fit over talent. In a small business especially, it’s vital that you fit in. Otherwise, you’re simply a distraction.

Find your unique place, quickly. Discover your unique role in your organization and what you can contribute to it. Look for the place where you uniquely help others be better and where your talents and strengths are best suited and plug into that.

11. Show up, work hard and you’ll standout

Don’t shortchange your organization by not showing up — and I don’t mean simply skipping work. Although being mediocre, giving partial effort is the same I think.

If you agree to take a job, with specified hours, pay and responsibilities, do your best, every day. That’s what you agreed to when you got the offer, so be a person of your word and honor it. (Some of the best advice my father gave me.)

And let me give you a hint …. do more than expected. It makes you stand out and people will take notice in a very positive way. 

By the way, conversely, doing the bare minimum makes you stand out in a completely opposite way.

12. You’re not a rockstar

Companies and businesses might say they want to hire “rockstars” but I’ve found those with the rockstar mentality don’t usually work well in teams. Rockstars are about themselves and their own fame and fortune. They are solo acts and that is divisive to teams.

Be the opposite of a rockstar … be a team player.

This African proverb says it all: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

On average, cohesive teams will always do more and go farther than rockstars in their selfish silos. Join a team and be the glue or compass or role player (whatever it takes) that makes you all better, together.

BONUS TIP: Get a job before your first “career” job.

If you’re still in college, I’d highly suggest you get a job, an internship NOW. Yes, before you graduate. Start working somewhere so you can learn what it means to make money for your time and talent … and how to work with other human beings … and under the direction of someone else.

Our awesome developer Chris Jean, one of the hardest working and talented people I know, often says that working in the fast food industry was one of the best things he ever did. It forced him to develop work habits that we now benefit from. For me, that was working alongside my father, uncles and grandfathers in their businesses.